...you realise the whole caboodle makes even less sense than it did before...
Spacesuits and pot plants. Battered birdcages and scrambled signals. Pictures of pyramids and celestial jazz. In the free-flowing, every-man-for-himself rock circus that is the Fries experience, there is but one fact of which we may be truly certain: [a]Regular Fries[/a], bless ’em, are ridiculous. Completely, sincerely, ridiculously ridiculous. For starters, the floating, seven-chap combo don’t have songs; they have [I]soundscapes[/I]. And [a]Regular Fries[/a] are the only band – [I]sans[/I] beards and PhDs in progged-out wankitude – who can play soundscapes and get away with it. Take ‘Africa Take Me Back’, the shimmering jewel in the psychedelic crown that is new EP ‘Smokin Cigars With the Pharaohs’. It’s a little bit Primal Scream. But, with it’s nodding-donkey groove and swirling swathes of astral synth, it’s mainly a whole lotta Hawkwind. In a good way, mind.
What’s more, while some bands become entangled in theory when attempting to justify their existence, the Fried ones are clearly happy to just, well,[I] be[/I]. Yes, their journey may be signposted by obvious steals from [I]The Art-Rockers’ Guide [/I](the gung-ho collage of unrelated ideas; the garbled lyrics that hint at grand designs for life while actually, brilliantly, saying nothing at all), but their final destination is reassuringly shy of either logic or pretence. It is, instead, a spectacularly impressive mess; a collision of cosmically inclined ideas, each tugging in a dozen different, equally nonsensical directions. It could all so easily be construed as self-indulgence. Especially when ‘Dust It Don’t Bust It’ breaks free from its baggy moorings and heads for the same heavy-lidded, prog-scattered galaxy as Can and, crivens, Pink Floyd. But it isn’t. Ever. The Fries, see, have elevated their traditional lack of focus to an art form, fusing their murkily funksome beats and scuzzily shambolic nous into an all-encompassing, all-conquering groove. So ‘King Kong’ is now a hot potato, rubber-limbed hop, its Mondays-ish repetition lulling a grateful Glasgow into stoned disrepair. ‘Hell’s Angle’, meanwhile, nods lazily at dizzy avant-pop while handsome head mumbler Dave Brothwell toys with an inflatable helmet.
With – gasp – discernible tunes emerging from the greenish fug, you may suspect the Fries are heading towards proper pop territory. But then you realise the whole caboodle makes even less sense than it did before, and breathe a sigh of relief. Why settle for normality when the Fries offer a universe free from sense and teeming with such wonderful preposterousness? Exactly. Beam us up, boys. Now.